Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 19, 2014 5:30am-7:31am EDT

5:30 am
end product will be able to reflect the american ideas. because what is neede. because what is needed, what is required, what is fair. the relationships between humans and husbands and wives. if we miss this term, nothing will be part of it. you can't be sustained without this. so what we need from this president and the secretary was done more than anything else since march 6, 2013, some two
5:31 am
dozen 14, this man has 46 meetings at best about 27 meetings with me. one lesson we ring commitment that the secretary has its full backing. and we want them to succeed. and this means fairness and what is needed. >> yes. >> wait for the microphone. >> yes. >> thank you so much for being here today. i'm a student at georgetown university. he mentioned that senator john kerry believes that the relationship between the israelis and palestinians will lead to changes in the middle east area my question is do you believe that and if so, what
5:32 am
cold peaceful relations as israel has with egypt and jordan ultimately leading to changes in the middle east or will people not take that seriously enact. >> will answer this question with a few dimensions. number one, the description with this history could be whatever people want to say is. look at what each of winter in the past three years. and there is a muslim brotherhood who accepted the
5:33 am
credentials of the israeli impasse there. and the second way is for israel to understand that bilateralism works and wireless them failed. and number three is and that will change the course of the culture as was said in the beginning there is a document which is the most advanced strategic document since 1948.
5:34 am
it's very simple. other nations will have part of this as well. and by the way this document was authored by in the saudi king and that is the most important and ties the backing of this is a part of it. >> we have time for one additional question. every post and in the world, millions of descendents and refugees could come back into the state of israel.
5:35 am
and we have an agreement with the israelis and we have this issue and i have not spoken about security or about borders. i did not speak any of these issues because i am under oath to john kerry. but i don't want him to get angry at me. when he gets angry, he really gets angry. [applause] and i don't want to do that.
5:36 am
so what is the difference between me defining the nature outside while we are talking about the issue inside. and that we cannot sign an agreement without israel agreeing on this but they can sign on all the core issues that they will not even look at without. and palestinians have their own at the end of the day and it's at the heart of the negotiations on the table. and i'm not expecting israel to sign anything that they don't agree upon. but this is an issue for negotiations and not for public
5:37 am
diplomacy are blaming near anything and i don't want to be part of defining this nature. it's time to define my own mistakes of transformation. difficult as i'm going through this. >> i think that we have reached the end of our time. i want to thank you for coming. i hope revson next time you come -- well, you will get an invitation to come back. and you've been candid and forthright here today. i want to thank all of you here
5:38 am
5:39 am
5:40 am
>> deep research and general was there for much of the events he is describing so it is history and memoir. he is a professor, and worked alongside general petraeus. we are pleased to have you here. and after he gives the
5:41 am
presentation, we will have general who produces questions to what he says. rayburn is leading a study for the iraq war and study for his phd and it is concerning the british experience in the iraq which is probably worst than the american experience. we are pleased to have both of you. thank you for that introduction. i wasn't going to write this book. i retired from the military in
5:42 am
2008 and i knew there was a story to be told, i was going to take time to digest and develop and i was thinking 10-20 years down the road i would like a history of the iraq war. but a couple years later in the summer of 2010, i was at a conference with a who is who of experts in the united states and we were talking about what to do in afghanistan in 2010. it was an issue of major concern in the united states. and the discussion went to what happened in iraq, especially during the surge and why violence was reduced so much in that period. and in listening to the experts, it was clear not one of them had
5:43 am
a holistic undering of the search or the war. so i decided to put aside the information i was studying at the time, which is going to be my next book, and i decided to write this book. this is three years in the making now. i understood where the sources were for it since we had developed and collected an archive of documents from general petraeus and they went to central command, then the national defense university and i am indebted to those folk for declassifying so many of the documents i used to write this. it would not have been possible without their assistance. what went wrong in iraq?
5:44 am
the bush administration made assumption going into the iraq war that it would be a war of liberation that the iraq people by and large would support the take down of their brutal dictator. the government and infrastructure would remain entact since they were going to cooperate so the united states didn't need to plan for occupation or rehabilitation of the country. rumsfeld looked at it like a lab. the idea that robust intelligence agents could collapse a state at the center
5:45 am
of gravity and wind up the war rapidly with fewer cadeath and this was the wave of the future that the united states military was going to take advantage of. unfortunately, the enemy didn't cooperate. the commander of v-cor as he is marching up toward baghdad, he had being attacked by gorillas and makes a comment this wasn't the enemy we were going against and he was nearly removed from command for that. this is sort of how the secretary of defense and the administration dealt with things that went against their pre-conceived notions. they stuck their head in the
5:46 am
sand and said it wasn't happen. the insurgancy was just dead enders they would say. and once we got rid of them, everything would be okay. as late as 2003, president bush said in a security council meeting said don't tell me there is insurgancy yet, i am not there yet. there were two key decisions made in the first day of ambassador paul wolfowitz ten e tenure. he gets to baghdad and he decides to debath the iraq society.
5:47 am
if you took off several hundred or the top thousand, you would probably have been okay. put he went all the way down and got rid of not just the top leaders of the government of iraq, but tens of thousands of iraqis who joined because it was the only way to get a job and these were doctors, lawyers, and all of the people assuming they would need to make sure iraq would function and with one stroke of a pen he got rid of them. and since they were sunnis and denied jobs, pensions and participation in the political life of the country, what they viewed as the decent they
5:48 am
started -- instead of agree saddam was bad com they would help was -- us -- and give us the benefit of doubt, instead we ali alienated them. and then the second was to expand the iraq army. it wasn't an instrument of regime control like before. we didn't have to eliminate the iraq army. they could have been used to
5:49 am
help stabilize post-war iraq. but he disbranded it. he said i was just acknowledging the obvious because they took their uniforms but he didn't mention they took their weapons as well and we could have called them. it was pointed out there were several thousands young armed men without jobs on the street. he suggested we could give them backpay. it would have been easy to have a table there and say do you want to continue to guard the country and prevent looting. we would not have gotten all of
5:50 am
them, but we would have got an significant amount and not had to re-create from whole clothe. this put hundreds of thousands of people on the floor, and tens of thousands of officers, most of them were sunnis, they were denied of many things most importantly their honor. and many decided to make their military talents with them into the insurgency. and paul bremer created the military bases for the insurgency. 24 people decided to break up the iraq government and they had to create three ministries so mechanism member could have a
5:51 am
ministry they could control. they fired everybody and packed people with their ministry. and the little confidence in the iraq government that was left was done away with by this decision. so these were the -- this set the political bases for the down turn in iraq. i think it is my contention we created the mess. first by illconsidered invasion and then our decisions in the mo post-war period. i love the american general planning their calendar and every day it says kill something and eat it. it says something about the army in the beginning.
5:52 am
it was operationally great and didn't know a lot about counter insurgency. so the idea of raids after raid and not a lot of thought putting into the other aspects of counter insurgency that we did become good at, but not in 2003. so what -- we were there now and things were spiraling downward. and what were we going to do? that is a good question. we lacked strategy and lacked at the troop level in operational concept that drove the operations in iraq in a uniform and cohereant manner.
5:53 am
and we lacked troop strength on the ground. even with the headwinds, there was good things done. unit by unit there was a lot of learning going on. and it was hit or miss. it depended upon the unit commander. there was a lot of learning when a unit came into iraq and by the time they were left they were trained and good. but then new units came in and you had the learning process all over again. there were successes, even so, but we failed to capitalize on them. we defeated the first people in october 2003 and there were three events in susection that took the wind from the --
5:54 am
secession -- that took the way home. the period of from january-march of 2004 was peaceful but we didn't take advantage of it. we created law what the sunnis' input and they rejected it. uprisings started and they were in the case of the south central iraq was put down by the first armored decision, the unit i was
5:55 am
bir commander of. the arab press was against what was happening and there was a lot of misinformation about civilian deaths and so forth. when they were ordered the stop, the situation in fallujah spiraled until the second battle that killed 2, 000 surgeainsurg burns -- and burned half the city. we withdraw from the cities and withdrow forces from their
5:56 am
basis, inside baghdad, and put them other places. we went to four major ford bases. this was a mistake. we were a virus that infected iraq society. we were there longer and the more anti-bodies we would create. the problem is no matter how many mounted patrols we launched, we could not control the neighborhoods from the peripheral and the result is the people with the power who were positioned locally rose up and began to control the urban terrain of iraq and that was the insurgency increasingly and the
5:57 am
shiites malitia. different units have different approaches to counter insurgency. i talked about one approach in fallujah and another one was up in another area in 2005. faced with a similar problem, faced insurgency in the city, but he didn't attack it. he cleared it, and then positioned his forces inside the city and smaller combat outpost to make sure they could not rise up again. he altered the dynamic of the battle there.
5:58 am
it was a great example of counter warfare but only one unit among many. talking iraqi cities to save them wasn't the answer. this period of the war spiraling downward but not a crisis point ended in february of 2006 with the destruction of the forth holiest shrine. they understood the shiites outnumbered everyone and they could outvote and eventually gain power in iraq. but after this incident with this major shrine destroyed,
5:59 am
they said if there iraq government can't defend the religion, the faithful will. and that is all that was needed for them to rise up. they torched sunnis mosques and kidnapped and tortured them drove them from their home. in the western part of iraq, al qaeda was gaining control of the provinces according to intelligence reports of marine colon colonels who said al qaeda is in control. there was a glimmer of home in ramadi, iraq and we will talk about that later. by september of 2006, 3,000 iraqi's were going killed each
6:00 am
month. they failed to adjust their strategic approach which was focused on killing and attacking operatives. forces that were unready to accept the responsibilities in most cases and in some cases especially in terms of the iraqi national police were complicit in the violence that was ongoing. part of the problem was they didn't understand what was going on on the ground. i know this because i got ahold of general casey's documents and general petraeus' and if you look at the campaign plan two months after the shrine bombing there is a list of wild cards and things that could go wrong. on the list is sunnis terrorist distrait a major shrine is
6:01 am
massive outrage. the unwillingness to recognize the reality of what was happening. this shows what was happening. the civilians and coalition data is purple and blue is just c coalition. you can see by december it is critical. this would be like 35,000 united states troops dying from ethno centric violence. pretty significant number. here is where we are as the surge is announced.
6:02 am
we don't understand that this is going to happen. all we can see is that this is happening. if that is a stock chart, you are a buyer. what did i just do? there we go. this shows in geographical terms what was happening. the darker orange areas are areas where insurgency and terrorist have more sway. you can see that the tigris river valley, and portions of baghdad are significant focus points of insurgency and terrorist. it was a fairly significant challenge.
6:03 am
by the late summer of 2006, it was clear the united states was headed for defeat. we put it, i was on the council of colonels that worked for the joint chiefs, we are not winning, so we are loosing and time isn't on our side. parallel strategic reviews were undertaken and president bush, to his credit, is the one who made the decision to surge. victory has a thousand fathers and everyone is writing it was general keene or patriots but it was bush. he decided to surge against every head wind blowing against him including his own party members saying get out. how the forces would be used with the new counter insurgeancy
6:04 am
do doctrine that was published. positioning the forces within the communities they would protect was the only way to drive down the violence and thereby enable politics, or the politics that doesn't use bombs and bullets as its grammar to move along. the iraq's added 135,000 troops and they were better trains. more importantly, or as importantly, they were partnered with united states forces side-by-side so they could model behavior on the troops and the
6:05 am
united states troops could moderate the base. segments baghdad into a number of isolated communities. we used bio metric scanners to figure out who belonged in neighborhoods and who was planning the ied's. we had enough forces finally to perursue the enemy and eliminat the save havens that cropped up in the previous three years of the war. we created an enforcement cell to bring them into the support of the government because you can never defeat them all. if you have to fight them all, and beat them all, that is a pretty tall order, especially in
6:06 am
a situation like this. learning and adapting going on, but it was more systematic because there was a counter insurgency doctrine everyone had to follow. two leaders mandated the entire force operate under the same doctrine. and we revamped our detention procedures to make sure the jihadist didn't control the inside of the facilities. what did the surge do? it acted as a catalyst. the rebellion against the al qaeda that started in ramadi, iraq. the surge was the reason the awakening spread as rapidly and fast as it did.
6:07 am
what most people don't know and i catalog in my book is general petraeus went to ramadi, iraq and saw what was going on and ordered the commanders to support the awakening and this is what allowed the awakening to take off. absent from the surge, the awakening is confined to ramadi, iraq and maybe one other province. but it expands well beyond that given patriots orders. the creation of the sons of iraq program was clearly part of the surge. these were armed neighborhood watch units that reported to u.s. military leaders. general petraeus learned about one such opportunity and when we learned about that he, in his
6:08 am
usual manner, said this is a great idea and he will implement it through multi force national iraq. so as the militias came in offering to secure their own communities, we would make them where a geneva convention compliant uniform and only later did we agree to pay them and we did this to prevent backsliding to the people who could outbid us. the seize fire in august of 2007 would never have been declared or accepted had the surge not improved security dramatically already. and the government's willingness
6:09 am
to conflict in other cities wouldn't have been attempted had the surge not provided the environment to allow them to feel bold enough to do it. i will cover ten misses of the surge and end with these and we will have conversations. the first myth is that the change in counter insurgency doctrine didn't matter and that u.s. forces already adapted and in any case security was already improving. i think this is false. it was published in 2006 and finally put a stop on the tatics in the united states. as far as security being good before the surge, or i am sorry, the facts the violence ebbed. here is a graph of the violent
6:10 am
incidents in iraq. you can see that as the surge begins in january of 2007, the number of incidents is at an all-time high and stays that way for several months. june of 2007, after a lot of surge troops are on the ground, does violence begin to ebb and ebbs substantially. the surge begins rights here. violence had not ebbed. the aawakening was a reason for the insurgeance. well it was a huge part, yes.
6:11 am
and i think i described this, it is general petraeus' push that he gave to the awakening that allowed it to expand beyond the confines of ramadi, iraq. myth three, all we did was put the insurgency members on the payroll. i think i mentioned this. there are the original closes. we only paid them $16 million a month and that is cheap at five times the month given the mount of security they gave. at the height, there is 103,000 sons of these men of iraq. that is added at a fraction of the cost of united states troops. it wasn't a strategic shift is myth number four.
6:12 am
it was a strategic shift. it strategy is the ways and means to achieve an end. here is the ways and end that were adjusted during the surge. in the middle of the diagram is everything al qaeda need to survive and everything we did to counter that. and that is a significant amount of actions. it isn't all tactical adaptations on the ground. in terms of ends, this was a changing in that as well. the ultimate goal was a representative of iraq, a democratic iraq that could be a u.s. ally in the heart of the middle east and against the war on terror but we decided sustainable security was the best we would do. we would get local initiatives
6:13 am
and get to a long-term solution where reconciling was possible. myth five, the surge was merely a hearts and mind campaign. if that is that is the case, why is the first six months of the deadliest timeframe the troops war? there was a lot of fighting involved. myth six, the city was stabilized prior to the surge. here is a map. the more orange the more violence. at the beginning of the surge, there is a lot of ethno centric violence. by the end of the surge, there is no violence to speak of, and
6:14 am
thus it is the surge that caused the violence to ebb. the seize fire in 2007 was the real reason for the improvement in security. i covered this. they would not have offered the seize fire had the surge not imed security oaralready. this is a quote from general casey and it says that we are loosing. many of the risks idea in the campaign plan have materialized. the assumptions didn't hold. we are failing to achieve our
6:15 am
objectives and we need to protect the iraq population from secretarian violence. we didn't believe this strategy was succeeding and either did the folks that worked on the creation of the surge. and the iraq study group report were caught in a mission with no foreseeable end. myth number nine, the real improvement was from the improvement of special operative forces. general mccrystal would disagree. i know general petraeus does. it was the synergy both the two with the conventional forces taking and holding ground and the special operation forces being able to then target insurgeant and terrorist operatives that created the
6:16 am
dynamic that helped to improve the sim -- situation on the ground -- and the final myth is all of the surge did was create an interval for the withdrawal of iraq. u.s. forces are there 60 years later in south korea. it is only a democracy several years after the war. but president bush wasn't
6:17 am
allowed to see it through the end. president obama was elected on an anti-war platform. his vision of iraq was like vietnam in the sense we need to get out and allow the locals on the ground to sort it out. by removing u.s. forces, it removed removed the glue that was holding the security situation and then the political dynamics raised their heads again. and it has to do a lot with how we handle the election of 2010. the situation now is spiraling back downhill and it remains to be seen what is the end of the war in iraq. and that is it. i am watching general petraeus back. and i would be happy to have a conversation now.
6:18 am
>> thank you. >> thank you for those remarks. it was just slightly over seven years ago that walking across the deserted food court of the pentagon city mall the night after general petraeus conformation hearings and went to baghdad and the then colonel motioned me to walk over and said he wants you to go over to iraq and that started four years of working with general petra s petraeus. there are themes you talked
6:19 am
about and cover in "surge" i would like to tease out more. as someone who was there, a smaller cog in the machine, it is a reminder of how much activity was going on in the heard quarter in iraq at the different level and the core levels and the iraq government and united nations. it is an amazingly complex landscape that they have to manage and synchronize. it is incredibly difficult. it reads like a cookbook because
6:20 am
as i am turning every few pages i am reminds of the strategic command has to be prepared to deal with this particular kind of problem and fulfill this kind of role and execute this responsibility. it is dozens of different s strategic functions that are not captured in military doctrine so i think we should take a look like yours and get it into the military doctrine so don't have to relearn this every time we do this in a foreign country, which as little as we would like it not to happen, it is bound to happen again and i hope we are better equipped so we can have the knowledge of how the counter
6:21 am
insurgency command worked so we can be in a better starting place the next time we do this thing. and it is reminder of the darned levers that a strategic commander like general petraeus has to pull. he oversees tactical operations and there is a detention command that is trying to count what general petraeus counter insurgency inside the wires. so no longer terrorist academy
6:22 am
but you have using them to have n an effect on the battle field. and on and on. the ability to synchronize all of them is a rare trait, i would say, in a strategic and operati operational leader. luckily we had two who could pull it off. a lot of the levers didn't exist early on in the war. and a lot of functional command were not present early in the war. so it is really only, i would argue, the later years of the tenure and command, general petraeus had to create his own levers to have the tools to address the complexity of the problem. could you pick the surge up from
6:23 am
2007-2008 and put it down some other point in the war? could you have done in 2003 what was done in 2007? could you have done it earlier? could you have fully exploited the opportunity that might have existed in 2003-2006 in the way they were in 2007-2008. and there were precursors that were not present i would argue. first, there is a chance mt secretary of defense. rumsfeld and gates. and senior military leaders at the time would say the surge couldn't have taken place without that change. and secondly, one of the things you get in the pages of "surge"
6:24 am
or "the end game" is knowledge of iraq politics, society, culture, and ethnic groups. it shows you just how little we knew about iraq. that iraq was such a black box to us in 2003 when the invasion took place. it was a very hard learning process. it was one that we unfortunately had to pay for in blood between 2003-2006 just to get the knowledge so you know, for example, that abu is stepping into a major role and they fled
6:25 am
from al qaeda pressure and are in jordan now. would we have known that in 2003? the level of knowledge you had to gain to see where the seams were that you could exploit is extrao extrao extraordinary. in your opening chapter, when you describe what went before the surge, the major development that is missed, i think, in the campaign as it is plan forked in 2004-2006 -- planned -- is the ethno centric war. there is an insurgency problem and an incapacitated state is as a problem as well.
6:26 am
so you have to build the state so they can handle the problem. when you get to the point where you are helping to build the capacity of the government that is itself a party in an ethno se secretarian war you have to ask if your strategy is defeating itself and that is the point you get to at the end of 2006. and i think that is the major fact they are confronting and the pulling out the rug from the assumptions that underpin their campaign plan of 2004-2006. and one point you make is that general petraeus in 2007 codifies and expands to the entirety of his commands things
6:27 am
that are peag learned by trial and error in places liin iraq. and as one former senior coalition journal officer put it is the adaptability of the technical units in 2003-2006 was a process of buying time so the seniors could do the thinking they should have in the first place and the codifying they should have in the first place. third point, one take away from the book is that the nature of the problem that the iraqis are dealing with is a struggle for power and resources and i would
6:28 am
add survival. to fill a vacuum that was created when the regime disappeared. and they are deal wilderness generation the aftermath of complete state collapse. the disappearance and collapse of the iraq state is a cat in iraq that touches every iraqi. and the difficulties that a foreign army has in trying to restore order, stablealize an environment like this, a modern functioning state whose infrastructure disappears and is completely gone is something that is difficult to appreciate from outside iraq.
6:29 am
but people in the ground can understand what i am talking about. there were places in west baghdad in 2007, upper middleclass neighborhoods that were turned into the waste lands were separated and corded off by mound of trash and barbed wire that the resident themselves put in place and a post apocalyptic scene. i thought what would beverly hills look like if you turned off the power, removed the police, picked up no trash, and had no running water and that waw the situation for four years and that is what parts of baghdad and other cities looked like. that was the extent of the problem and it wasn't easy.
6:30 am
i would also say, let me, to drew another analogy about the unnecessary collapse of state in 2003, or the finishing it off, the iraq army disbraanded itsel would be like going to the empty pentagon and they were disbanned. you can order them back to work and that is what should have been gone. and i am not speaking on behalf of the united states army or the department of defense in any way. this is only my opinion. and lastly, to extrapolate from your book to the situation today, you give us the key to
6:31 am
underi understanding the violence that is rocking iraq today. the problems you describe or being tackled in the course of the surge and i am talking about the awakening and the sunnis splitting from al qaeda and the power sharing pack that takes place and insulation of iraq from terrorist sanctions in iran and the containing of the shiites military groups. all of those acts unravelled to create the situation that is standing today. if we were to continue on with the violence chart, we would see it creeping back up to probably back to 2006 in iraq. probably in the early part of 2006. so, you know, hopefully, some
6:32 am
sort of forces will intervene to keep it from going where it was at the end of 2006 because at a certain point it is corrosive and there is nothing to stop it. but you identified the things that need to be done to prevent that outcome and unfortunately the dynamics are moving in the opposite direction. >> that segways into how you ended the talk which is is it entirely fair to sort of blame the obama administration for the lack of the delta keep american forces in iraq. the negotiator made an effort to make it work but the iraq p parliament was a problem.
6:33 am
how would you address? >> i would say president bush personally got involved with s discussions on a weekly bases with the ambassador and theobam never did that. he give it to the vice president the iraqi's know the difference between a president and vice president. but if you backtrack before that, the reason we were not able to extend the sopa goes back to the election of 2010. a sofa allows troops to operate in a country. it was won by a shiites but was
6:34 am
running in a party that was supported by many sunnis. we told the sunnis to enter the election and they won the election. their voice wasn't heard. we didn't back the winner of the election. we didn't even give him an opportunity to try form a government. he might have failed. but we didn't allow the process to go to fruition. instead, we had malkey is the guy and we need to back him. and the equivalent of the smoke-filled rooms a deal with the party thsupported malky for
6:35 am
another term. and the sunnis learned no matter if we win at the box, it doesn't matter, because who is the next president is decided in washington and we are left out of the process. and this is why no one would support the extension of the united states force because what good were we? >> what was the reasoning? when i say our, i am saying the government. >> he believed he was the best hope for a stable iraq going forward. but i believe the best thing for the area is to have a system where law is respected. >> as rayburn indicated we are back to the situation with 2008 with 8,000 civilian deaths every
6:36 am
year and the number could go up. not to 35,000 probably but it is going to the wrong direction. what, if anything, can the united states do tamper that down? >> i don't think we should do anything. i wrote an op-ed that they need to stew in their own juices until they reverse the political decisions that suppressed the iraqis. until he does that and agrees to share power and stop persecuting sunnis politicians which he has done and until he allows protest against his government we should not help him with the problem of
6:37 am
his own creation. >> how would assess the strengths of al qaeda in iraq now? >> they are making a comeback but the tribes are not aligning with them like in 2006. the tribes know-nothing good comes prom from aligning with them. they are more on the sidelines of they are fighting for themselves. i don't think al qaeda will be able to create a save haven in western iraq. they position themselves so they can be combative with convent n conventional force. but the situation throughout iraq will spiral downward with
6:38 am
car bop bombings and such until you have the resolution among the elites that the best way forward is political not violent. >> and you were critical of the general who was sitting in tampa during the war. his concept is administered from several thousands of miles away. ...
6:39 am
>> who has the time to focus
6:40 am
on? we thought there was too much emphasis looking at what we we're doing not enough on the rest of the region still met with u.s. military going through major experiences lessons were of miller and topeka's favors to difficult and viet baum was the big one. people never do that again. how was the military position this time around? and how would you assess clearly there is an effort underway to make sure lessons are learned but. >> you said they were too difficult to learn. there was the unwillingness to learn.
6:41 am
with the normandy invasion if we could do that then the army would be happy every half century. [laughter] we will have to fight the wars we have to fight. none of us wanted to long term counterinsurgency but it will be nice to be ready in case it does. as the army takes off the operational study of the iraq war the british army looks at the lessons of world war i over 14 years then produces a steady -- has a steady but that never
6:42 am
produces then they cherry pick a couple of bottles sealed the rb the american army does a pretty good job number one is the german army. for two years right after the end of the of war a and they create a tactical doctrine was to lee rooted at looking at the experience. with the military looking at the last war that are not ready for the next one thank you are able to look at the last one to get the right context and understand what went on to prepare yourself for much better for what they might face in the future will keep iraq and
6:43 am
afghanistan. if we ever have to do a counterinsurgency. >> tel you proceeded how did you go about it? >> what i really needed was a primary source documents from the national defense university of lot of it was requesting classification from the archive that thankfully the folks did in a timely manner. of course, i had my contacts and associates and published secondary sources i did not have to spend extended time archives somewhere because i
6:44 am
already knew what i was looking for. there was no archive time at all. >> to identify yourself and wait for the microphone. >> i retired army. on your opening slide with the overarching reasons for the assumptions going in are you being a little rough on drummer big easy on rumsfeld with the issue of the bath of vacation in dismantling of the iraqi army? having done a couple of tour with the pentagon it is inconceivable they were made in isolation from the leaders. >> that is a good question
6:45 am
and another book yet to be written i will not hold my breath and ambassador bremer he said i and the president's representative if he were to do something that was not right he could have said secretary rumsfeld said to disband the army it is the bad idea could greasy the discussion from the national security council and president bush says we should have discussed it with the national security council and we didn't and i take responsibility for that. al least he could have assessed what could have gone wrong.
6:46 am
you might be right. we don't know but bremer in my view clearly did not push back at all. >> research fellow at the national security program here. he never mentions of popular it -- population at the time after 2006 there was significant displacements and segregation of population separate from sectarian. i would argue that was one of the other variables because the populations were sold segregating themselves so moving on a fixed neighborhoods into city or share it -- should she get areas and i am not sure i disagree with the general argument i just wonder why
6:47 am
you stick with such a model causal story it is interesting without those other variables would it have been possible and why take was all of those others the awakening, the displacement, of violence reaching a saturation point had to have been there too had the effect that had. >> of the first one of the slide of sectarian violence the population displacement why was there so much as no sectarian violence and why did it continue? we went door to door at least in baghdad with this
6:48 am
great new clarity is a lot more mixing of the sect even before the surge is of clean separation of the population. that is not what the commanders on the ground were reporting. but there was a lot of mixing of the population. it was not segregation of the population but segregating baghdad and the biometrics is security checkpoints to stop militia to prey on the suny and likewise it is more difficult to reject the car bombs and suicide bombers. of the other point i don't
6:49 am
think i had no mono causal explanation. that the surge transplanted to a different time or place so i never make the claim it was the way to go before 2006. i fully acknowledge that they came into play indoor extremely important. that catalyst would bring them to fruition. i don't think iraq is in a better place. i think after the surgeon would have broke up the country. >> was it a follow-up signal
6:50 am
but to say we are staying? >> absolutely. the psychological impact we're not withdrawing they take their cue off what the president of united states is saying. then that meant something. that m something to the iraqi political leaders there was no indication that obama was all in. the portfolio was turned over. >>. >> with september 10, a 2007 tell us the atmosphere.
6:51 am
that was an important hearing of the road war two era. >> it was tense, as a real, "the new york times" with the character and personality that he was the mouthpiece for the white house, was the high stakes and i thought general petraeus and the ambassador handled themselves marvelously considering the amount of pressure and scrutiny. but there was a move faja with a withdrawal time line on the administration. when those hearings were over i knew the way that they had gone they had
6:52 am
squashed that. not to create a political dynamic that is the outcome of his forthright testimony was happening on the ground. is said you just bought us six more months. it's true. i retired from the marine corps as well a couple of comments. that we used extend several torch to for the army the second saying is that
6:53 am
general schumacher with the introduction of the brigade modules is an amazing transformation that made them work together. i was fairly impressed by that. but the fact you could have those units from the different parts of the united states and europe with one focus was a significant achievement and that was a great job to do that. >> what would you say to the state department? says part of the baghdad prt that was not funded. so with the effort of lack of funding and support of
6:54 am
the state department i recognize that is not their job. if not for the fact without funding and other money you could not have done any kind of work at all. so that they had significant resources what would you say to the state department role of the warfare how you could use it for military programs? >> it is sort of true that we wanted the civilians as well as the military surge. we needed the capacity civilians could bring one of the things done effectively that they feted the reconstruction teams so with
6:55 am
that capability with the brigade area helps with the reconstruction aspects. we did not get as many civilians i am not sure how to do this better with the u.s. agencies for international development and was much larger than it is today. it was a force.
6:56 am
but i don't see that happening. because with the resources of that regard but anyway. [inaudible]
6:57 am
but there was a more of a focus. >> with the policy? >> could we have picked better people? >> i have a common devil asked later but the question is did you revise counterparts today what what about the lessons that you
6:58 am
have applied? >> from george mason university i appreciate what you are trying to do and the importance. but the problems of policy making the other is a planning problem. could you talk about the role of your organizations so come from the outset we know there was more in the '90s that did a pretty good job to anticipate those problems and secondly with the planning process itself.
6:59 am
>> from the retired state department i want to ask about president bush and his commitment to south korea and obama and the vietnam. to maintain 60 or 70 year occupation. is there a parallel strategic rationale for this 60 or 70 year old occupation of iraq? >> we will be kept -- began with the theory to have gone more smoothly we did not have the right people in charge in 2003 but we also didn't have the right organization.
7:00 am
with an organization to conduct a theater responsibility and not until the spring of 2004 side by side it was too much for any one person to handle with of budding insurgency you could have the best person you could imagine. but in terms of ambassador crocker in 2003 could things have gone better? possibly. in my view that is a better
7:01 am
analogy but donald rumsfeld will not allow him all lots of leeway with the previous question indicated that secretary rumsfeld wanted the army to we disbanded. that is the vision that they had i not sure but we don't know. but the lesson is political. part of what iraq is facing today to get over the political impasse to bring
7:02 am
in all sectors and ethnicity is with the political wait for word to counteract those a aspects it would be easy but with specific tactics and apache helicopters and hellfire missiles you can poke away all day long at the terrorist but not until the root causes are addressed in that advice has to go to the top unfortunately. >> and it? >> it is interesting people would say they would give them a piece of their mind but i have not studied the run up to the war but with all the have read the
7:03 am
military broad in the weapons from secretary rumsfeld. there were plans of the shelf at centcom but was under different commander. he was o.k. so the military did give their best advice but the bigger issue is how can we train and educate our leaders to give better advice? this goes to the professional military education system that counts with the officer's career as a way station. >> final south korea and iraq.
7:04 am
>> will give you a specific reason the middle east has a lot of oil and will for decades to come we all love creed energy but to we depended on hydrocarbon it will continue to matter to become the new saudi arabia [applause] >> [inaudible conversations]
7:05 am
>> today a hearing on government surveillance overseas. it will be conducted by the privacy and civil liberties oversight board. a panel appointed by the president recommended by the 9/11 commission. live coverage of the hearing begins at 9 a.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> c-span to providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend booktv. now for 15 years the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter your. >> author kayla williams is an army veteran. in her book "plenty of time when
7:06 am
we get home" she describes her difficulties and readjustment to civilian life and her husband's brain injury caused by an ied. she appeared recently at the politics and prose bookstore in washington. this is one hour. >> first allow me to express my most profound regrets for being late. i had an interview run late and didn't have an expense of traveling on the beltway, which i think maybe more stressful than driving in iraq because you're not allowed to carry a weapon on the beltway. so as my introducer mentioned, i am also a veteran. and before i get started i want to take a brief moment to thank all of you for coming. i really appreciate you taking time to get out before we are inundated with snow, have a look at the fund before we get
7:07 am
started. and to all the troops and veterans in the room, i want to say welcome home your end to all the military families, i want to say thank you for your service as well. i enlisted in the army in 2000, and although i knew that i read the fine print i understood the army went to work on it didn't seem like a very big possibility back then. and i was assigned arabic and studying it in monterey, california, on 9/11. it was apparent my military career was going to be profoundly different than they might otherwise have expected. it was a lot of question of whether or not i would go to work, simply when and where. i did part of initial invasion of iraq as part of the 101st airborne division air assault, and after spending some time in baghdad going out on combat patrol with infantry without placing -- as a woman soldier, i surely wouldn't have needed them. we pushed farther north to model
7:08 am
and beyond, and i was eventually assigned to an lp ot, and listening point observation post on the side of a mountain and was the only female soldier with about seven male soldiers. we move to the other side of the mountain later and are maybe 20 or 30 men their age i was the only female soldier for several more months of relative isolation. while i was there i met this tall, handsome nco. he was in charge of the observation post something, they were still proud to call themselves the fire support team. and i thought he was funny and handsome, witty, sarcastic, smart. but iraq is not romantically we could exactly start dating, couldn't go out or anything like that. any sort of flirtation that we had was very gruff and not, not
7:09 am
at all the type of gentle romantic flirtation that you might imagine here at home. one night on the side of the mountain i confessed to them i really wanted to get to know them better. he said, don't worry, there's plenty of time for that when we get home. it wasn't too long after that that is convoy on his way back was hit and one of the first really coordinated attacks of what later came to be known as the insurgency. in the early days we did not yet called that. we just wondered what the hell was going on since women support operation. shrapnel into the back right side of his head, traveled for an exited near his right eye. for three days we were all told not to expect him to survive. he was medically evacuated, luckily, down to baghdad where he had nerve surgery by, as chance would have it, the senior surgeon who led operator on --
7:10 am
from their use if i'd waited to germany and from there back to walter reed army medical center. i stayed in iraq and completed my mission, heard from bryant a few months later and enough was full of the type of typos and punctuation and spelling errors i think a lot of people slip into an e-mail so i just let that go. of the issues being lazy like people are in e-mail, and didn't have any sense of what it meant to have a traumatic brain injury. when he said looks like i'm going to be okay, i just took it at face value. these were the early days of the war, and wouldn't have not been would be the early days of the war, but they were. and the systems and services that returning wounded warriors were really not in place. so when he recovered to a point at which as the doctors told
7:11 am
him, he could walk and talk and wipe his own ass, he was released from walter reed and sent back to fort kamel kentucky where the 101st is based. he got there about two weeks before the rest of the division got back from the middle east, and we started dating the day that my plane landed, federal aid, 2004, such as over a decade ago. and i'm sure there were signs then of his cognitive and psychological problems, but i was pretty distracted by my own reintegration and did not necessarily notice of them. we were busy partying and getting drunk and staying up all night because we had a month of block leave. so in that heady early time when we're just thrilled to be alive and getting drunk a lot, didn't notice what was coming. we were very quickly deeply emotionally involved. then i started going back to work and had to get up bright and early every morning to go
7:12 am
into pt, and i to go into my job and train soldiers and get ready to redeploy to get our unit ready to go back overseas. and brian c. unit told him to stay home. -- bryans unit. he was still newly, early enough in his recovery that he was allowed to wear headgear because the wound was so fresh where the shot had been in where the shrapnel that entered in the back of the school. he still had to get his head shaved by the hospital by specially trained people. he had ptsd, to bring up he couldn't carry a weapon. he actually had a profile, you get a special piece of paper in the military if he can't do anything like you can run for a while. on his profile it said he could not carry a weapon. and so his leadership said, well, you can't wear headgear, you can't carry a weapon, you are too screwed up to do job and you're freaking out all the new guys when they show up so why don't you just stay home. this is not the army that i knew where you had to show up every
7:13 am
morning for a candidate formation and people make sure you were where you're supposed to be. i was surprised nobody was checking up on him. they told him to stay home. he lost his identity as a leader of soldiers. he lost his job. he lost his place, and he was questioning his ability to have a future. he spiraled deeper and deeper into depression, host of extras to sort them and everything just fell apart. he was not cognitively able to pay his bills or take himself to manage his own life and he was trying to self medicate. the pain he was feeling with jamison, jack tennant, jim beam, really what it was in the. that doesn't work. but it took quite a long time for them to figure that out. and somehow i stuck with him this. people asked me all the time how, and i have to be honest,
7:14 am
i'm still not sure. but with a lot of patience and commitment and love, we stayed together. we got married. he did heal and we been able to forge a new life together. so i tell the story in this book, and a lot of the early reviews focus on the fact that i'm very honest about the worst parts of the recovery. some of the terms are making a little freaked out the people not want to buy because they are focused on my honesty about those really bad stages, but for me this is a story of hope, healing, recovery and love. this is a love story and this is a story about how my husband came back from profound injury, profound institutional neglect,
7:15 am
and really deep physiological cognitive and psychological wounds to be the man that he is today, a loving husband and father who just started using his shiite -- j. bell benefits to qu├ębec because this mess which is an exciting new adventure for us to embark upon. the messages that i really want to get out and i'm convinced that anyone who reads this book will absorb is that that's are not broken. i see this taking root in the popular media narrative that veterans are unemployed, suicidal, homicidal, homeless, that which is really screwed up. and for many veterans, though certainly not all, the process of reintegration of coming home, of healing can be a difficult one. but with proper services and
7:16 am
support it can happen and there is a new normal in which we can still be contributing members of society, valuable additions to our communities, fantastic employees. you should hire us because we are fantastic. the other message that i wanted to share is that caregivers are not saints. i've gotten this kind of sense that people believed that those of us who choose to stand by wounded warriors, that we are perfect, that we do no wrong, that we stand lovingly by our men or women as the case may be, and that's not true. i didn't always do a good job. i got angry. and you're not supposed to get angry at a hero, right? you're not supposed to lose your temper at somebody who got blown up serving his country. but when things are horrible i'm a human being and i had a lot of
7:17 am
those feelings that are not always proud of and i didn't always handle things well. one time when i was really, really angry at how badly he was managing our lives together, happy is missing apartment and couldn't keep track of anything and things were just awful, and i didn't have the ability to say any of that to him, to say to them, i'm afraid that i can never have children because you are so screwed up. i couldn't tell in any of those things i was really angry about. one day he was standing there holding a refrigerator open to pick what he wanted to eat, holding it open and open and open. and i lost it and started kicking him in the shins asking why he hated the environment. because that makes sense but i wasn't even pregnant by the way. so i tried to be very honest about the fact that i am a
7:18 am
person, and that although i did stick with my husband through some difficult times, i'm not a saint. i did not nail a crossed myself and drag it around with me. i'm a human being and have my own foibles but i also want to make sure that people know that there are resources out there to help. if you or a loved one are struggling, you can call the veterans crisis line at 8273 talk and press one for immediate assistance 24 hours a day. if your spouse is struggling with ptsd in becoming violent, ma you should call the domestic violence helpline. you should not suffer in silence or a loan. and if you're looking for a way to serve veterans are looking for resources in your local community, you can use the national resource directory which is online and has a vast compilation of resources that are available to a third military family member you can
7:19 am
look up online and see all the wonderful resources you have available to help military families. i was told i'm not supposed to talk for too long. i'm supposed to give the opportunity to ask questions so i will tell you first that it had to make a lot of ways available so you could connect with me with the book, with my story in some kind of fun ways so you can follow me on twitter. you can find me or the book on facebook. you can go to my website, and you can look me up on spotify into the playlist that i develop to go with his books he can hear the music i was listening to when this was going on, if that might be a different way for you to connect. i'm happy to opened up for questions but let me warn you, if you do not ask questions, my book club into a very good at talking so i will continue to run off at the mouth about the things that interest me. so thank you again for coming. please come up and ask questions. if you don't start doing that, again i'm going to talk about
7:20 am
what i think is interesting or read sections from the book. notetakers? all right. i'm going to grab my copy -- somebody is coming. please, no, make her stop. >> i don't even know how long i talked. i tried to squeeze 30 minutes into i showed up late and that was asked so make it great. >> i'm a reader of doonesbury comic strips by garry trudeau. and wondering if he ever contacted you, because i keep thinking about it while you were talking, and it's about characters that did what you d
7:21 am
did. >> yeah, i love his strips as well. i think he's done a great job bringing attention to military sexual, as well which is a topic a lot of people don't want to talk about. there's a character the sustained a traumatic brain injury as well. we were in touch my first book came out and then because of that i sent him a copy of the new one just last week some hoping that he enjoyed it. thank you. >> i just wanted to say first of all that i loved your first book. i read it at an important time in my life and it motivates me to get off my butt and do things in the world. so thank you for that. he also said some things that i would love you more talk about, the idea of military and veterans being broken. i will confess as a civilian i know that there is a civilian military divide and i want to breach it in a way that i don't want to do in a patronizing way. however, accidentally
7:22 am
patronizing. so i was the, you say you talk a lot, how should we bridge this divide? >> it's a tough question i think a lot of people are struggling with. i read a great piece on mine the other day that really spoke to me where the author said the civilians, quit saying you can't understand. because we go to movies and we read books about things that are totally outside of our current understanding all the time. we read books about ancient history. we see movies about space aliens, right? like we tr can't put our minds o situations we can't connect with on a regular basis. when you talk a veteran and you said i can't imagine what you must of been through, that increases the divide. try to imagine, try to put yourself there, read books, mind of course, or others. read blogs.
7:23 am
the one line. there are a lot of voices out there, a growing number of voices, and try to connect with what people are saying. there's some exciting fiction being written out as well. when you have friends who are in the military, who are veterans, be willing to listen. don ask them if they've ever killed anyone. kind of frowned upon, consider tac in the military community, not just let them know you're there and you're willing to listen. one of the things i encourage people to do in those situations, a lot of veterans struggle with ptsd, at least my husband and let my friends family, they have a hard time with eye contact. but go do something. sitting around and drinking really bad coping mechanism. so instea instead of saying joie a beer and talk about this, hey, you want to go for a hike and talk about this? or some of the type of activity where somebody can walk next to you, walk with you and share the
7:24 am
stories if they want to but without the pressure of having to stare directly at your eyes and without having the temptation of overindulging in alcohol. thank you. >> thank you for writing your book and coming to talk to us. i was in kentucky at the time the war started, and i was reporter and talked a bunch of people from fort campbell. i'm wondering if some the things we wrote about early on were some of the worst-case examples of the military not doing a good enough job getting mental health treatment to people who needed it. i'm wondering if that's changed at all? i think of the fort bragg domestic balanced sort of rash were people came back and they were afraid to seek help because they might be blacklisted. just wondering all these years later if that is change the? i think a lot of progress has been made.
7:25 am
my husband was injured early in the war in october 2003, and from what i've heard when i was writing this book, i tracked down his neurosurgeon and his nurse i can't just -- no psychiatrist, and asked him about it if i tracked down his nurse psychologist an instead le what happened, how did this happen, how did he slip through the cracks, and he said yeah, fort campbell is one of the worst places for people with tb i do in those early days. so for me and for brian one of the things was really helpful as part of our recovery was to try to call attention to the gaps in services that we saw, and to tell our stories in an attempt to make things better for troops continue to come home after us. and to do that as part of a larger community, to do that as part of or decisions of other
7:26 am
veterans who working together for positive change. things have changed. bryan was sent back to his artillery battery for reasons completely beyond my comprehension. they have medical holding companies at the time to he should've been sent at him and into one of those but later on the army develop warrior transition unit that were specifically designed to try to help wounded warriors and provide them with squad leaders, platoon sergeants and case managers who know how to better help them navigate the system and go through them, medical evaluation board, fiscal court, process more smoothly. whether or not that has always worked as was planned still remains to be seen. but they've made a lot of effort to improve things. it's an ongoing struggle to convince troops and veterans even that it's okay to seek help. part of that is just military ethos. when you go up in a culture that tells you suck it up and drive
7:27 am
on, pain is weakness leaving the body, there's plenty of time to sleep when you're dead, it's really hard to put all of that aside and say, i can't do this by myself and i need help. the institutional military i think is trying to send a message that people should seek help, but it doesn't always get through at every level. and the impression i get as an outsider is that some groups faced bigger challenges than others. i came from military intelligence, and out of concern that people would not seek help because they didn't want to lose their clearances, now you don't have to report seeking psychological help for combat related trauma on a security clearance paperwork. i just redid mine but it's true, i checked it, it's in the. you don't have to report but i've been led to believe that highlights, if they're seeking mental health care can't fly and that is a huge barrier for them in terms of seeking help. it's not my career field.
7:28 am
i can't say that for sure if that's what i've heard anecdotally. certain groups may have a good challenges to overcome when it comes to seeking help. i think we'll need more senior leaders who are willing to stand up and say i sawtelle. with a few examples, those are fantastic. we need more than. and we need more veterans and troops who were willing to say here's what i did that helped me get better. part of the reason i told our story, and i have other friends have been part of campaigns, getting out there and saying here's how i was struggling, here's what i did and here's how i'm doing better. to help encourage people to know that their multiple avenues to that's the other message i want to get out. if you bought toothpaste and you really hated the flavor, you wouldn't give up on brushing her teeth forever, right click you would buy a new flavor, a new brand. so if you try to fit the and you don't stick with your therapist, don't give up on mental health
7:29 am
care. like, try a new therapist. it can take a while to find somebody you really click with. it can be challenging to find a good environment. you may try more than once. the va medical center is working for, try a that sent. there are a lot of avenues to seek help and one of them down the road will work for you. you can find a new normal where it's not just ptsd but post-traumatic growth. i firmly believe that it is only because i saw the horrible things and experienced real things that i'm able to appreciate how privileged we are in america as fully as i do. i believe that i am more connected to my fellow humans because i've seen them at their worst. it's given me a better capacity
7:30 am
to appreciate them at their best. you are staring at me because you have a question or you want me to stop talking? >> i'll tell you when to stop talking when over there. i have a question. can you talk about the process of writing this book? you described so vividly and with a lot of dialogue, events that were clearly painful going back over a decade. were you keeping notes? do you have a photographic memory? >> i've always been a journal or. i write a lot of journal entries and i always have, and then also when it is decided to write this book i needed people. i wasn't on the bus when brian got hurt and actually interviewed five people were on the bus to get there because brian's memories, considering he took shrapnel to the great articles body of that event. i

34 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on